August 27, 2008

'where the wind comes sweepin' down the plain'

This past weekend we took our last trip for the summer. We traveled to Oklahoma City to visit one of Laura’s old friends and the science museum.

The memorial for the bombing

The Science museum.
This is for Grace. I was as utterly fascinated with this thing as Laura says you were.

The first Harley Davidson.

A very very small airplane.

Just a random sign on a local restaurant

It was then on to Tuttle, the small town in which Laura grew up. Laura playing in the creek behind her old house.

Finally we ended up in the Wichita Mountain Wildlife Refuge. This was a great place to camp. They had Buffalo, Deer, Elk, and Longhorns roaming about.

A few deer were in our camp when we woke up. Here is Laura trying to feed one.

Oh and they had some small mountains with some good boulders to jump around on.

A collard lizard

A small canyon we explored

On our way out we stopped the World Famous Meer’s Hamburger Restaurant. I don’t know about the world famous part, but they did have an awesome burger.

August 18, 2008

Redneck Paradise

This weekend Laura and I went exploring a huge unofficial dirt bike park that lies just south of DFW on a floodplain of the Trinity river. Among the acres of wildness we found lots of beer bottles, a curious armadillo, and a trio of really impresive tree houses. Against my better judgment (probably due to hanging out with Randy the day before) I decided to climb one, which turned out just fine. Some pics:

August 8, 2008

New Architecture in Beijing

(image by Pen9)

Here is a link to an informative website put together by the NY times. It provides some good graphics that explain 5 new architecture projects that Beijing has recently built (2 of which are for the Olympics). Make sure to click on the “New Beijing Architecture” tab on the left and then click on any one of the buildings.

The airport looks nicely done and the rest are if nothing else interesting. There defiantly seems to be a focus on simple forms with complex skins.


For the design firm Herzog and De Meuron this focus on the wrapping of the building happens to be their strength. They have experimented as of late with weird forms but it is still the unique material choices and patterns that set them apart. I have been watching them for awhile it is nice to see them not only so successful but going back to their roots. Some more of their projects:

Winery in California

Signal Box in Basel (photo by numstead)

De Young Museum in San Fransico (image by me)

August 6, 2008

Going Green in the Big Apple

During our time in New York City Laura and I frequented many of the city’s parks, mostly due to the assurance of shade and a place to rest our weary feet. What we found more often than not was a microcosm of activity ranging from dog walking to sunbathing to horse-back riding. I began to understand why Central Park is quite possibly the most successful urban landscape in the world. Olmstead, not a fan of the city’s rigid grid system, designed an enormous rambling English garden incorporating the natural granite outcroppings and supporting magnificent trees and ponds. The contrast is stark as you walk across the street and into the park. Grey walls turns to green walls, taxis turn to bicycles, straight blocks turn into meandering paths, even the smell changes from the city’s mix of exhaust and grime to a subtle sweet forest smell. Note that I am not discrediting the rest of the city, the smell (while not the most pleasant) had Laura and I nostalgic for Rome and the great grid of the city facilitates a smooth flow of business (not to mention helps tourist like me find things relatively easy). I just wanted to show that the dichotomy between the park and the city, a dichotomy that makes life in the Big Apple a lot more manageable.

Here is a map of Manhattan labeling the parks that we specifically visited. Notice that there is actually a lot of green on an island with 1,537,195 people living on it and some of the highest land value in the world.
And here are some of our pictures of the various parks in NYC:

I also posted some of our other trip pictures here:
and Laura posted up pictures here:

August 4, 2008

Back in Texas

We’re back in Texas after a week of travel in New England. I’ll post some travel stories and pictures later this week but I thought I would start with some quick thoughts about each of the eight states that we traveled through this week:

New Jersey
Supposedly called the Garden State. From what I have seen it is quite the opposite. But that may be that the two times I have been to New Jersey have been brief travels through Newark getting to NYC. Lesson: don’t put your major airport smack dab in the middle of the ugliest part of America.

New York
The city was really entertaining. Lots of weird people to watch. Lots of dogs in the parks. Lots of free stuff to do if you don’t mind walking. Our brief run through upstate provided a scenic drive (even if it was the same scenic drive as through Connecticut and Massachusetts).

Once out of Stamford it was a gorgeous drive through rolling hills.

It has to be the way they plan their Interstate but Vermont was seemingly uninhabited. Driving up I-91 there was not a single house, business, or billboard in sight and there was barely any signs to indicate exits.

New Hampshire
This was our most beautiful drive on the trip. Rolling mountains and small rocky rivers.

Maine was fun as we got to go to the Lobster festival. Good coastal driving, good crustacean eating.

The Berkshires were nice and Boston was a good end to the trip. Much smaller and younger than NYC. We stayed at a really nice hostel there and saw some good American history as well.

It is good to be back in our own bed again, even if it means 107 degrees outside.